Author Archives: Daniel Perry

Recent winter weather provides TSTC plumbing students with real-life lessons

(WACO, Texas) – February’s winter weather experienced in Texas is giving Texas State Technical College’s Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology students plenty to think about.

“There’s a lot of money in plumbing right now,” said Austin native Jack Guerrero, who is scheduled to graduate in December with a Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology certificate. “A lot of things broke that I know how to fix now.”

Guerrero not only had a health issue to deal with during the winter weather, but he and his family had to heat water in a fireplace as they endured a loss of electricity and heat in their home for several  days.

Guerrero, who wants to work in Austin after graduation, recommends that people keep their faucets dripping to reduce the chances of freezing water pipes.

Jimmy Maldonado, of Gatesville, is also scheduled to graduate with a Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology certificate in December. He said people should think about covering their windows and doors to cut down on cold air seeping in. He also recommends using outside faucet covers to provide wind and freeze protection.

Chris Porter, an instructor in TSTC’s Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology program, said the winter weather should show students how to come up with their own solutions for problems. He said students in the program are learning the proper way to do work, which can benefit them as they advance in their careers.

Porter said he wants the students to pay attention to weather reports and know when to stock their work vans with supplies once they are working after graduation. He said the students need to be prepared for pipe breaks and not always having access to the right equipment. 

Porter said the winter weather did have a positive aspect: It brought attention to the plumbing profession once people realized how valuable the workers are. He said consumers and business owners should be aware of who they hire to do repair work and that social media is not the place to seek plumbing recommendations. Porter said people can go to the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners’ website to search for plumbers’ professional information.

Porter said insurance companies will need invoices from plumbers for completed work.

“If you want good quality work, you will pay a plumber for good quality work,” he said.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a need for more than 511,000 plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters by 2029. The agency attributes this to maintaining existing plumbing systems, along with the construction of new residences and buildings.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu. 

TSTC Culinary Arts provides dual enrollment opportunity for Hutto High School students

(HUTTO, Texas) – Hutto High School students with an interest in culinary arts have a quicker pathway to earning an associate degree at Texas State Technical College’s East Williamson County campus through dual enrollment classes.

“Dual enrollment students have the benefit of seeing the culinary world before having to pay,” said Brian Bohannon, a Culinary Arts teaching lab assistant at TSTC. “It has been great having the dual enrollment students from Hutto.”

Dual enrollment enables high school students to take college-level courses as they work toward high school diplomas and earn college semester-credit hours.

Hutto High School’s Culinary Arts program averages 60 students per year. Freshmen and sophomores choose two prerequisite classes before moving on in the Culinary Arts program. 

There are two levels of classes within the program that high school juniors and seniors can take. When students become juniors, they can also decide whether to enroll in dual enrollment classes with TSTC’s Culinary Arts program. 

“I have a lot of successful students that have gone through my program and have graduated from TSTC’s program,” Said Farraje, a Culinary Arts instructor at Hutto High School, said. “It is something to be proud of.”

Alexis Gamboa is in his second semester in the Culinary Arts program at TSTC. The Hutto High School graduate took dual enrollment classes.

“I didn’t know that the classes had dual enrollment at the start, but when I found out how useful it was, I was elated,” he said. “The classes really helped me be prepared for TSTC and make it so much easier to enroll.”

Gamboa said his TSTC classes have been a good experience.

“The program that we have used for online learning has been very easy to work with and makes classes much easier,” Gamboa said. “I have enjoyed the program so much that I am excited for the next semester and to see what new things I will learn.”

Farraje said he sees a need for trained culinary workers to fill positions as Austin and its suburbs grow. He said having a degree provides graduates with the expertise, knowledge and skills to progress within the culinary industry’s ranks.

“When you get a formal education, it reinforces whatever you are doing,” Farraje said.

TSTC in East Williamson County also has dual enrollment partnerships with Dillard McCollum High School in San Antonio for Automotive Technology, Jubilee Academy in San Antonio for Business Management Technology, Jubilee Academy in Wells Branch for Medical Office Specialist, Liberty Hill High School for Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology and Digital Media Design, and Texas Can Academy in San Antonio for Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology.

According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, more than 151,000 Texas high school students took dual enrollment classes in fall 2017.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC works with Texas school districts to offer dual enrollment classes

(RED OAK, Texas) – Red Oak High School students do not have far to go for dual enrollment classes. All they have to do is walk across a parking lot to Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus.

Dual enrollment enables high school students to take college-level courses as they work toward high school diplomas and earn college semester-credit hours.

Red Oak High School students are taking classes this year in the Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology, Automotive Technology, Computer Networking and Systems Administration, Digital Media Design, Electrical Power and Controls, and Welding Technology programs. Classes are taught by TSTC-accredited teachers at Red Oak High School, at TSTC or online.

Lisa Menton, the Red Oak Independent School District’s career and technical education director, said dual enrollment offerings are decided upon using employment data from the Texas Workforce Commission, along with information forecasting high-demand careers in the future. Student interest can also factor into decisions.

Menton said the district’s goals for the future are to grow the number of students taking Electrical Power and Controls and Precision Machining Technology classes.

“We will offer more opportunities for our students as we begin to see if those can fit in pathways to meet career needs in our area,” Menton said. “That makes it easier and more convenient. Students can do the online learning and work it into their schedule.”

Besides Red Oak ISD, TSTC in North Texas is working with the Castleberry Independent School District, Texas Can Academies and two home schools to provide dual enrollment opportunities.

According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, more than 151,000 Texas high school students took dual enrollment classes in fall 2017. The percentage of Hispanic students taking dual enrollment classes grew from 38 percent in fall 2007 to 46 percent in fall 2017, according to the THECB.

Some of TSTC’s most popular dual enrollment programs statewide include Automotive Technology, Cybersecurity, Digital Media Design and Welding Technology. The classes can be taught by TSTC-accredited teachers at the students’ home campuses, or students can travel to a TSTC campus. High school students can also take some dual enrollment classes online.

“Our main goal with dual enrollment is matriculation, to expose them (the students) to TSTC earlier so they can pick a career they can go into and matriculate to one of our campuses,” said Kadie Svrcek, TSTC’s dual enrollment recruitment representative. “Students are able to have that freedom to have dual enrollment with us and continue on with us while online.”

Spring is the time when private schools, along with charter and public schools, can reach out to TSTC to inquire about dual enrollment opportunities in time for fall. The TSTC programs that schools are interested in for their students are vetted to ensure that there is no overlap with neighboring colleges.

“For us, it is all about exposure,” Svrcek said.

COVID-19 has impacted dual enrollment for students in the past year. But Svrcek is optimistic about the future.

“I think now everyone has gotten a grasp and handle on what their plans are, and they are more comfortable pivoting from an in-person setting to a 100 percent online or a hybrid setting,” Svrcek said. “Our school districts are coming around and being more active.”

As we close out Career and Technical Education Month, TSTC is proud to showcase the students, staff and faculty who support its mission of being the “most sophisticated technical institute in the country” every day. To learn more about the programs offered at TSTC, go to tstc.edu/programs.

Semien brings facilities management expertise to TSTC

(WACO, Texas) – Kevin Semien knew that the recent weather events experienced in Texas were not something to take chances with.

Semien is executive vice president of facilities and maintenance, as well as interim airport operations manager, at Texas State Technical College. 

During the weather crisis, he worked with TSTC’s physical plant, custodial and maintenance staff to identify power issues that affected TSTC’s campuses statewide. He was grateful that some staff members could get to their campuses to check on buildings.

Edgar Padilla, TSTC’s provost in Waco, said Semien was a key member of the Waco campus’ incident command team, which met several times daily to ensure the health and safety of all students.

“His calm, thoughtful and expert insight proved to be invaluable not only to the facilities and maintenance considerations, but also the student services, housing, public safety and communication pieces of the event,” Padilla said. “His commitment to TSTC will pay dividends for years to come.”

Semien sees the root of his work as having a desire to solve problems. He likes to get an idea of what is happening on each campus.

“You can’t know every single thing, but you can keep me in the loop for anything outside the norm,” Semien said.

Some of Semien’s goals at TSTC include creating standards to be used in support departments at all of TSTC’s campuses. He wants to encourage employees to be open to new ideas to make work easier. Semien wants to build relationships and foster a teamwork concept that easily allows directors and staff members to make suggestions and have productive discussions.

“He (Semien) has great ideas,” said Arturo Aguilar, TSTC’s custodial supervisor in Waco. “Overall, he is a great leader and also great as a person to work with.”

Terry Pritchett, the TSTC physical plant’s senior executive director in Waco, said Semien brings a high measure of professionalism to his position.

“He is down-to-earth and easy to talk with, whether in a work or personal matter,” Pritchett said. “He is understanding and caring of the TSTC mission and makes his decisions based on our organizational goals. I look forward to many years of service under his leadership.”

Semien said his advice for people interested in the facilities and maintenance field is to be ready to learn and work well with other people.

“The opportunity is there if they jump into it early,” he said.

Semien’s previous work has been in the casino and health care industries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

“All of the experiences have rolled into the opportunity here,” Semien said.

Semien is a graduate of Lamar University in Beaumont.

During the month of February, TSTC wants to honor the Black students, staff and faculty who make TSTC a special place to learn.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC Electrical Lineworker Technology students gain experience during winter weather

(WACO, Texas) – At least 50 students in Texas State Technical College’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program signed up to work as wire-down guards and drivers for damage evaluators during the state’s recent winter weather event.

The students were on-call contract workers for Irving-based J&S Inspections, a utility contracting firm. Robert Mitchell, lead instructor in TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program in Waco, became familiar with the firm’s work while working at Oncor.

Mitchell said he considers this work a paid field trip for students, giving them work experience that will prove valuable as they pursue their careers in the electrical lineworker industry. He said many of the students made at least $3,000 for their work during the winter storm.

Mitchell volunteered to serve as a damage estimator for 13 days, while TSTC Electrical Lineworker Technology student Conner Woodall of Hubbard was his driver. The two worked from the Austin suburbs to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to East Texas. Mitchell said the Lufkin and Nacogdoches areas were heavily impacted.

“It was the tree situation,” Mitchell said. “There were big pine trees hanging over the lines. There were bad ice storms where limbs accumulated a half inch of ice. The limbs fell and broke lines and broke poles on a big scale.”

Woodall said he saw lots of downed power lines and worked with Mitchell to prepare job tickets to get damaged circulators and insulators fixed. He said the weather was the coldest he had ever endured.

“We have to get out and know what to look for,” Woodall said. “If you cannot get to it by truck, you are going to have to walk the line.”

He said it is the first time he has done work like this in the field. He said the money he earned will go toward college costs and to buy more equipment.

“It actually benefited me being able to see a lot and see real life,” Woodall said. “I saw what the crew would have to do to come out and do the work.”

Mitchell said TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program is called on to provide assistance during major weather events one or two times a year.

TSTC offers the Electrical Lineworker Technology program at the Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall and Waco campuses. TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program is a Money-Back Guarantee program. Students who sign up for the program with a TSTC Career Services representative in their first semester of study can take part in focused workshops as they work their way to an associate degree. If students do not get a job in their degree field within six months of graduating, TSTC will refund their tuition.

Texas had more than 10,000 electrical power line installers and repairers in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those workers made an annual mean wage of $58,570.

Nationally, more than 116,000 electrical power line installers and repairers will be needed by 2029, according to the federal agency. This is due to retirements, workers advancing into management positions, new housing and commercial construction, and upkeep of the interstate power grid.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu. 

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TSTC Process Operations Technology students utilize virtual experiences

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Students in Texas State Technical College’s Process Operations Technology program in Marshall are getting the most out of some new virtual reality software.

The program’s faculty members and students began using PetroSkills Simulation Solutions’ Distillation VR software last summer. The software can be used in classes focusing on process instrumentation, troubleshooting and process technology.

The software simulates what process operators encounter in control rooms at refineries and petrochemical plants. Randy Clark, an instructor in TSTC’s Process Operations Technology program, said the software is the same kind used at Eastman Chemical Co. in Longview and Pergan in Marshall.

Clark said instructors can set up real-life situations for students to solve, such as failing pumps or equipment fires. Alerts are given through alarms sounding in the software. The students must determine how to fix the problems.

“We can make it like every pump can shut down,” Clark said.

Students can access the cloud-based virtual software through TSTC’s Moodle platform, whether on campus or at their residence. 

Nick George, of Canton, is scheduled to graduate this semester from the Process Operations Technology program. He learned about the program from his aunt, who took a campus tour with students from the Wills Point Independent School District. At that time, George said he did not know what the process operations field was.

George applied to TSTC toward the end of his senior year.

“I jumped at the opportunity to do something,” George said.

George said he enjoys the program’s hands-on labs, some of which include using the simulator software. During one recent virtual scenario, he had to deal with an overflowing condensate tank.

“This is fun,” he said. “Troubleshooting is fun for me. I like to solve and fix things.”

George has been applying at internships and feels good about his prospects. He wants to stay in East Texas to work.

Janna Jones, of Marshall, is scheduled to graduate this semester from the Process Operations Technology program. She said she chose the associate degree program because of the earning potential upon graduation and seeing what her sister, a graduate of the program, has done while working at a company in Kansas.

Jones used the simulation software for the first time during the fall semester. She said it is user-friendly because there are downloadable instructions on how to maneuver through situations. The software uses color coding to indicate problem areas.

“I’m glad it is here and available,” Jones said. 

Jones added that she is optimistic about her job prospects when she graduates.

The Marshall Economic Development Corp. (MEDCO) authorized the purchase of the virtual reality software in February 2020 and donated it to TSTC.

“We would like for those individuals to stay in Marshall and work here,” Rush Harris, executive director of MEDCO, said in July 2020. “It increases our percentage of educated folks in town and increases our annual median and mean income. We are trying to keep the pipeline of employees going to some of these larger companies that pay well.”

TSTC’s Process Operations Technology program teaches students about blueprint reading, industrial processes, process technology, safety and other topics.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC Automotive Technology program adapts to teaching during pandemic

(WACO, Texas) – Automotive Technology students at Texas State Technical College continue to gain insight into what their careers can look like upon graduation.

“It’s a good time in the automotive industry because of how everything is advancing,” said George Williams, lead instructor in TSTC’s Automotive Technology program in Waco.

The program’s students and faculty have relied more on technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since spring 2020, TSTC’s technical programs have been taught either exclusively online or in a hybrid format that combines online lectures with on-campus labs.

TSTC students, faculty and staff continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines in wearing masks, not gathering in groups and sanitizing hands and work areas. All of this is being done to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Rudy Cervantez, TSTC’s statewide chair of the Automotive Department, said the program is using a new e-learning and e-simulator learning management system called Electude. He said students are becoming prepared for what they will see in training at dealerships.

“They need to have a good understanding of the material and theory of the given learning activities, expected outcomes, and objectives before attempting the hands-on skills practicals,” Cervantez said.

Jonathan Tooke, of Teague, is pursuing the Automotive Technology – Chrysler Specialization certificate. He said his cell phone comes in handy to take photos in class of brakes, engines and transmissions before he dismantles them. He is getting experience working at a dealership in Fairfield doing oil changes and minor repair work.

Devontae Bible, of Waco, is working toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology and an Automotive Technology – Chrysler Specialization certificate. Bible, a graduate of Waco High School, said he chose to pursue Automotive Technology because of his appreciation for fast cars.

“I heard TSTC was the best of the best,” he said.

Bible is getting internship experience while working at a Waco dealership doing oil changes and working with technicians on minor problems.

“I like the job,” he said. “The environment is cool. It’s good to be around.”

The Automotive Technology program will adapt to another new way of teaching starting in fall 2022. Williams said the program will shift to a performance-based education model. 

Performance-based education allows students to have flexibility with their schedules as they master set competencies. Students can build on existing knowledge and may have the opportunity to graduate earlier than planned. Students will still have semesters, but the number of classes will vary.

“The students will get more one-on-one time with instructors,” Williams said. “The student will schedule lab times with an instructor.”

There were more than 51,000 automotive service mechanics and technicians as of May 2019 in Texas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The workers made an annual mean wage that was more than $45,000.

Automotive service mechanics and technicians will have to adapt in the next decade to the development of electric vehicles, and cameras and sensors being added to cars and trucks.

February is Career and Technical Education Month. During this month, TSTC is proud to showcase the students, staff and faculty who support its mission of being the “most sophisticated technical institute in the country” every day. To learn more about the programs offered at TSTC, go to tstc.edu/programs. 

TSTC graduate returns to teach in the Industrial Systems program

(RED OAK, Texas) – Jarriet Durham is fascinated by electricity. And he is eager to instruct as many people about it as possible.

Durham began teaching in the Industrial Systems program at Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus in December 2019. Initially he was looking for a second job since he was already working in the industry. What he thought was an offer to teach part time was actually a chance to join the program’s faculty as a full-time instructor.

“I feel like, as an instructor, we look at it as teaching. But on the other side, you are a lifelong learner,” Durham said.

During the spring semester, he is teaching some of the program’s day classes.

“His enthusiasm for what he does each day is very easy to see,” said Marcus Balch, provost of TSTC in North Texas. “Jarriet, or J.D. as we call him, could be out in industry still, but he’s come back to a technical college and a program that he is a graduate of. The work that he does daily directly impacts the lives of his students, giving them a very sought-after skill set that is critical for our industry partners.”

Durham said he sees a challenge in educating others in what industrial systems are. He said there is a big need for women and minorities to pursue the field.

“It is such a varied field,” Durham said. “We touch on some of everything. We teach heating, ventilation and air conditioning; electronics; electrical; mechanical; pneumatics; hydraulics.”

Les Monk, an instructor in TSTC’s Industrial Systems program, admires Durham’s attention to detail — something that he first noticed when Durham was one of his students.

There is something else that Monk noticed early on: Durham’s love of motorcycles. Monk said Durham rides to and from campus occasionally on a motorcycle.

“He’ll ride it when it’s cold outside,” Monk said.

Durham grew up in Dallas and is a graduate of H. Grady Spruce High School. After high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force, where he worked as a postmaster and radio operator. 

“Some of the soft skills transfer when you manage a post office,” Durham said. “In my role, I had clerks under me. I am not completely new to it (teaching) in an administrative role.”

After he left the military, Durham worked in construction and studied to be an electronic systems technician.

“I was not making the money I wanted to make in construction and decided to go to TSTC,” Durham said. “I wanted to do work on electrical systems. I was doing some research, found out about TSTC and gave them a call. And the next thing I knew, I was enrolled and going to school.”

Durham graduated in 2019 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization from TSTC in North Texas.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu. 

During the month of February, TSTC wants to honor the Black students, staff and faculty who make TSTC a special place to learn.

TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program and AEP Foundation celebrate financial pledge

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Leaders from Texas State Technical College and Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) recently gathered in Marshall to celebrate a financial pledge made through The TSTC Foundation to TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program.

The American Electric Power Foundation has pledged $100,000 to the program to help ease the financial burdens of students in need, enabling them to complete the program’s associate degree and/or certificate of completion. The AEP Foundation is funded by American Electric Power and its utility operating units, including SWEPCO. The first $50,000 of the contribution has been received, with an additional $50,000 gift planned for 2022. The gift adds to an existing endowment that the foundation created a few years ago.

“We are exceptionally grateful for AEP’s outstanding support of our Electrical Lineworker Technology program and the great benefit this gift brings to the students,” said Barton Day, provost of TSTC in Marshall.

Riley Hodges, lead instructor in TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program in Marshall, said the endowment can help students who might leave TSTC due to program costs.

Wade Cumbie, of Carthage, is pursuing an associate degree in the Electrical Lineworker Technology program and is scheduled to graduate this semester. He said he is happy that the AEP Foundation’s gift will help future program students at the Marshall campus long after he is working in the industry.

“It’s a big deal for people who cannot afford the program,” Cumbie said. “The work we do is very fun. It is about the friendships you have with the guys. The instructors are very good.”

Bryan K. Blanton, Distribution System manager for SWEPCO’s Longview district, said about 50 Electrical Lineworker Technology graduates from Marshall have been hired by SWEPCO in the last four years. Blanton said graduates start off in a four-month internship, then go into a three- to four-year apprenticeship program to progress into becoming an electrical journeyman.

“We have had huge success with being able to hire students that are from the area where we are trying to place positions,” Blanton said.

Blanton also is chair of the Electrical Lineworker Technology program’s advisory board in Marshall. The advisory board is made up of industry personnel who give input on what students need to learn to match what is being done in industry.

“The program’s curriculum is in line with AEP’s curriculum, and this is a huge benefit because the students come out of the program with the knowledge that we need them to have,” Blanton said.

Mark A. Robinson, SWEPCO’s external affairs manager in Longview, said the electrical lineworker industry continues to see people move into less physical jobs or retire as they get older. Newer workers will be needed.

“What we are seeing in our community is almost an expectation that some go to college, and for some, a four-year degree may not be right,” Robinson said. “They (students) are being encouraged to go toward a certificate or two-year degree. They can stay in the community, get a high-quality education, go to college and go into the workforce.”

To motivate people to pursue the electrical lineworker field, it will take entities partnering together to promote technical education.

“TSTC and AEP are essential partners in economic development,” said Rush Harris, chief executive director of the Marshall Economic Development Corp. “Our EDC is proud to have them both in the community. This is a very generous contribution by AEP that provides additional opportunities to our area’s youth and future workforce.”

TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program is a Money-Back Guarantee program. Students who sign up for the program with a Career Services representative in their first semester of study can take part in focused workshops as they work their way to an associate degree. If students do not get a job in their degree field within six months of graduating, TSTC will refund their tuition.

The Ohio-based AEP Foundation works in AEP’s 11-state service region to support education in the areas of engineering, mathematics, science and technology. The foundation also works to support cultural arts, the environment, health care and quality-of-life efforts.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

 

Round Rock-area computer technology jobs show promise for TSTC graduates

(HUTTO, Texas) – Before enrolling at Texas State Technical College, Melissa Wykes studied criminal justice and became a licensed esthetician.

But she said she needed to make a career change for financial security. 

The Round Rock resident chose to attend TSTC’s East Williamson County campus in Hutto to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity. She is scheduled to graduate this semester.

“Cybersecurity is a wide-ranging field,” Wykes said. “It has been really interesting getting exposure to different aspects of it.”

TSTC transitioned several programs to an online format last year so that students who are not close to a TSTC campus can have the opportunity to take classes in Computer Programming and Systems Administration, Cybersecurity and other TSTC programs.

“We (industry professionals) have been telecommuting and working this way for a decade,” said Joshua Schier, an instructor in TSTC’s Cybersecurity program. “We are the most unaffected by this pandemic. I would say this is the right career at the right time if you have the skill set and think you can do this.”

There are 14 students from Round Rock enrolled in the statewide Cybersecurity program this semester, along with two students in the statewide Computer Programming Technology program, according to TSTC enrollment information.

Wykes said during this time of COVID-19 that people interested in a career change should pursue cybersecurity.

“This is an amazing career field, and because it is so widely varied, there are these pockets and niches,” Wykes said. “The work is going to be so secure for the next several decades. Everything is going to the cloud. That is all cybersecurity and information technology.”

Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area in Cedar Park has designated several computer-related jobs in its nine-county area, excluding Travis County, as target occupations. Some of these include computer systems analysts, database developers and information security analysts.

There are more than 3,100 computer-related jobs in Round Rock, according to Workforce Solutions. More than 1,300 of these were in software development and software quality assurance analysis and testing. There were more than 500 for computer user support specialists and more than 300 for computer systems analysts.

Workforce Solutions predicts that in the next three years there will be a need for 400 more workers trained for computer occupations in the Round Rock area.

TSTC’s Computer Programming Technology program and Web Design and Development Technology program are taking part in the Austin Technology Council. The council focuses on supporting businesses and professional growth, providing networking and business mentoring opportunities, and giving public policy representation to the tech industry. 

Shannon Ferguson, statewide lead instructor in TSTC’s Computer Programming Technology program, said his vision is to see students in the two programs promoted to companies throughout the Austin area.

Some of the Round Rock companies that have sought technology workers in the last month include Revature, which is seeking an entry-level computer programmer, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which is looking for a software developer, and VCL Technologies, which is seeking a software developer, according to Indeed.com.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.